Dogs in Sports: Our interview with Rookie the Batdog

Rookie the Batdog at work. Photo provided by Trenton Thunder.
Rookie the Batdog at work. Photo provided by Trenton Thunder. /
1 of 2

Rookie the Batdog is one of the most popular employees of the Trenton Thunder.

Rookie the Batdog comes from a line of important doggos around Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, New Jersey.

He is the third generation of Golden Retrievers to work with the Eastern League’s Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, arguably the most successful franchise in all of pro sports.

(For all things Yankees-related, visit our sister site within the FanSided Network, Yanks Go Yard.)

Rookie is one of the most well-known sports dogs on the internet,  and can be followed on both Twitter and Instagram at @BatdogRookie. He, along with his caretaker Eric Lipsman, the Thunder’s Senior Vice President for Corporate Partnerships, talked to Dog O’Day in an email interview earlier this week.

Dog O’Day – Rookie comes from a line of batdogs, right?

Eric – “Rookie’s grandfather Chase was our original batdog, who started with us in 2002. He passed away in July 2013. Rookie’s father was Derby, who started with us in 2010 as he shared his batdog duties with his dad. Derby passed away in January 2018. Rookie shared the batdog duties with Derby in 2016 and 2017.”

So as a batdog, what are some of your duties?

Rookie – “I get the bats during the first inning of every game, then do a meet and greet with the fans on the stadium concourse. I like to play with the Thunder players on the field before the game, and I bring bottles of water to the umpires on hot nights.

“On fireworks nights I hang in the office until after the fireworks are over because I don’t like the loud noise they make. Once the fireworks are over I go out in front of the stadium and say goodbye to the fans as they leave.”

Who are some of your baseball heroes?

“My dad Derby is my hero. He taught me everything about baseball and being a batdog. I have made a lot of friends on the Thunder; Gleyber Torres, Greg Bird, Clint Frazier, Kyle Higashioka and Domingo Acevedo are five of my favorites.

“I also hung out with Nick Swisher and Tim Tebow last year. That was fun.”

How did you strike up a friendship with other internet sports dogs like Ranger

“I invited Ranger (@NYRPupOnAPath) to come to one of our games last August and he came here and we had so much fun. We ran around the office, played Tug of War with my toys, and played on the field before the game. I hope he comes back again this season.

“I would love to meet some of the other NHL dogs. [Vegas Golden Knights fan] Bark-Andre Furry (@BarkAndreFurry) and I follow each other on Twitter. My hooman met him and Sir Winston Da Doodle (@WinstonDaDoodle) in Las Vegas and told me how great they were.  I love their tweets, and hope we can all meet in person some day.”

How do you type without thumbs?

“I use both paws and occasionally my nose.”

What are some of your favorite ballpark snacks?

“When I walk around the stands, I love the smell of hot dogs and popcorn. But since I don’t eat hooman food I have a whole bunch of treats in my office for when I come in from the stadium.”